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IRES: Undergraduate Research Opportunities in Microbiology and Biogeosciences of Siberian Deep Subsurface Permafrost


Dr. Tatiana A. Vishnivetskaya is the Principal Investigator (PI) for the project.
Center for Environmental Biotechnology, University of Tennessee
676 Dabney-Buehler Hall,
Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
Phone: +1-865-974-8080
Fax: +1-865-974-8086

Dr. Vishnivetskaya is a Research Associate III in the Center for Environmental Biotechnology (CEB) at the University of Tennessee (UT). Dr. Vishnivetskaya holds a Ph.D. (2003) in Biochemistry from Russian Academy of Sciences and a M.Sc. (1990) in Biology with major in Microbiology from the Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia. Her interests lay in uncovering microbial community structure and biodiversity of various extreme environments including deep subsurface permafrost, tundra soils, soils and sediments from polluted sites, hot springs, and animal/human microbiome. In her research Dr. Vishnivetskaya is applying a variety of classical microbiological and high-throughput techniques, such as quantitative real time PCR, microarrays, hybridization, next generation sequencing, single cell genomics, metagenomics, metaproteomics, metatranscriptomics. Her experience is reflected on numerous peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Vishnivetskaya, who is a native Russian speaker, will oversee the IRES project logistics, coordinate activities with the Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems of Soil Sciences (IPBPSS), and participate as an education and science mentor at the Russian research site.

Dr. Karen Lloyd serves as Co-PI on the project.
Department of Microbiology
University of Tennessee
M409 Walters Life Sciences
Knoxville, TN 37996
Phone: +1-865-974-4224

Dr. Lloyd is an Assistant Professor in the Microbiology Department at UT. Dr. Lloyd holds Ph.D. (2009) and M.Sc. (2005) in Marine Sciences from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; and B.A. (2000) in Biochemistry from Swarthmore College. Her research interests include characterizing and determining the geochemical functions of uncultivated microorganisms from extreme environments such as the oligotrophic deep-sea sediments, methane seeps, and hydrothermal vents. Her research centers on potential roles for uncultivated archaea and bacteria in sedimentary systems through genetic, transcriptomic, and metabolomic analysis of natural sediments as well as laboratory incubations. Methods commonly used in her work include quantitative PCR, functional gene PCR, fluorescent in situ hybridization microscopy, and single cell genomic analyses. These tools are used to identify potential functions for archaea and bacteria that have no closely related cultured relatives, but are nonetheless abundant in nature. The main focus is on examining the impact these organisms have on the global carbon cycle, through complex organic matter and methane. Her experience is reflected on numerous peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Lloyd has successfully mentored undergraduate students to conference presentations and peer reviewed publications.

Dr. Lori A. Ziolkowski
Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences
University of South Carolina
701 Sumter St., EWS 617
Columbia, SC 29208
Phone: +1-803-777-0035

Dr. Ziolkowski is Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of South Carolina (USC). Dr. Ziolkowski holds Ph.D. (2009) in Earth System Science from University of California, Irvine; M.S. (2000) in Chemical Oceanography from Dalhousie University, Canada; and B.S. (1998) in Environmental Chemistry from University of Waterloo, Canada. Her research interests center on the fate of natural and anthropogenic organic matter during climate change especially in regions with continuous permafrost.

Dr. Elizaveta M. Rivkina
Soil Cryology Laboratory
Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems of Soil Sciences
Pushchino, Moscow Region, Russia
Phone: +7-496-733-8174

Dr. Rivkina is Director of the Soil Cryology Laboratory at the IPBPSS. Dr. Rivkina holds Ph.D. (1986) in Geochemistry from Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU), and M.Sc. (1971) in Geophysics from Lomonosov MSU. Her research interests include permafrost biogeochemistry, GHG genesis and flux, permafrost as a microbial habitat, metabolic activity of microorganisms within permafrost, and life below the freezing point. Dr. Rivkina will host students in her laboratory, provide permafrost samples for students' projects, and oversee students' work. Her laboratory equipped to conduct up to date research in microbiology, molecular biology, microscopy, and geoscience. Dr. Rivkina supports a website with scientific resources and inspiring stories to engage undergraduate and graduate students in permafrost research.

Dr. Elena V. Spirina
Soil Cryology Laboratory
Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems of Soil Sciences
Pushchino, Moscow Region, Russia

Dr. Spirina is a Senior Staff Scientist in the Soil Cryology Laboratory at the IPBPSS. Dr. Spirina holds M.Sc. (1993) in Microbiology from Kazan State University, Russia. Her research interests include permafrost microbiology, molecular biology, and microbial ecology. Dr. Spirina is a research specialist and has worked for more than 10 years as the day-to-day coordinator of undergraduate research and educational curricula for the Study Abroad Program of the Knowledge Exchange Institute. She has been recognized for her scientific knowledge as well as for her friendly, caring and accommodating nature, which is vital when working with students. Dr. Spirina will provide scientific and educational mentoring as well as cultural and language support.

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